This is likely one of the worst PPV cards the UFC has put out in recent history. The loss of Rashad Evans has really hurt the event with an unknown fighter in Pat Cummins coming in to face Daniel Cormier in his debut at 205 lbs. The Rory McDonald fight does bring some interest, but overall, especially with the quality we have seen from the recent PPV cards this one is not set to break any records. Even the Ronda Rousey vs Sara McMann fight comes with much less fanfare than the Rousey vs Tate fight did at UFC 168.
In last weeks Fight Night 36 card everything pretty much went as expected with the favourites coming out on top in the big events. I did have Machida to win, which he did by a big decision, while I had Carmont who lost a tight battle to Souza.
2014 Record: 7-3 for +4 units.
Ronda Rousey vs Sara McMann
In the main event of the evening Rousey is back to defend her women’s bantamweight belt against Sara McMann. Rousey is once again a big favourite in this fight, but McMann isn’t being taken quite as lightly as several of Rouseys opponents by the oddsmakers. Rousey is a 4/1 favourite in terms of real odds.
McMann is a silver medal wrestler from the 2004 Olympics, so it will be interesting to see how the wrestling silver medalist performs against the Judo bronze medalist that is Ronda Rousey. McMann is also undefeated in her MMA career and won her first UFC fight via TKO at UFC 159. She has been waiting to get back in the octagon for close to a year so I expect her to be fully ready to face Ronda.
Rousey had her most difficult fight at UFC 168 against Miesha Tate, but that said she still dominated the fight throughout. I expect more of the same from Ronda in this fight. She will not be taking McMann easily and for me I just have to see someone beat her before I can bet against her. She is just so strong with her throws that I expect her to be on top for most of this fight. If McMann can out wrestle her from the bottom she may have a chance.
Take Ronda Rousey -450 (BetOnline)
Daniel Cormier vs Pat Cummins
As we all know, Rashad Evans was supposed to be fighting Cormier as the co-main event, but he had to pull out of the fight with a knee injury just 10 days before the fight. Pat Cummins was the only man to step in at such short notice to take the fight with Daniel. Cummins convinced Dana to put him in because he had apparently trained with Daniel Cormier leading up to the Olympics and he says that he broke Daniel and made him cry and he will do it again.
I expect a dominating performance by Daniel Cormier. He wins a lot of his fights via decision, but I expect him to knock out Pat Cummins in this fight. He is the better and more experienced all around fighter. This will not be the way he loses his first professional MMA fight.
Take Cormier inside distance -150 (5Dimes)
Demian Maia vs Rory McDonald
Rory took a big step back when he lost to Robbie Lawler at UFC 167. If he doesn’t lose that fight we could have easily saw him fighting Hendricks for the Welterweight title. Instead here he is fighting Demian Maia to get his name back in the Welterweight title shot picture. Rory just didn’t quite look like himself in the fight with Lawler, but he still only lost by split decision. He is a very smart fighter, but he needs to put more damage on his opponents. I expect a slight change in strategy in this fight with Maia.
Maia is also coming off a loss, but it was to Jake Shields in October. Before that he had beat Jon Fitch, Rick Story and Dong Hyuk Kim. Jon Fitch is really the only big name on that list and he was cut from the UFC following his Maia loss. I expect Rory to be able to pick Maia apart and win an easy victory to get back to the top of the Welterweight division. A loss here would really set back his UFC career.
Take McDonald -280 (5Dimes)